10 Best Dog Carrier Backpacks: Reviewed & Compared
Best For Hiking With Small Dogs
Petsfit Comfort Dog Carrier Backpack
The Petsfit backpack is well ventilated and comes with chest and waist clips and the base solid and wont collapse.
A traditional pet carrier will cover most pet-owners’ needs—it keeps your dog secure on the way to the vet and possibly some trips to see family or friends. However, especially if you own a small dog, a dog carrier backpack can open up many travel possibilities and make your dog feel more included and more comfortable.
Many dog carrier backpacks can double as car seat carriers, airplane carry-on, and temporary dog beds, as needed. Furthermore, these carriers can serve a similar purpose for other small pets such as cats and rabbits.
Petsfit Comfort Dog Carrier Backpack
K9 Sport Sack AIR
Petsfit Comfort Dog Carrier/Backpack
Natuvalle 6-In-1 Pet Carrier Backpack
3.75 Lbs. (The Large Size)
COODIA Legs Out Front Pet Dog Carrier
RUFFWEAR – Approach Full-Day Hiking Pack
Extra-Small, Small, Medium, Large/XL
Snoozer Wheel Around 4-In-1 Pet Travel Carrier
Large, Medium, Small
Ibiyaya Multifunction Pet Carrier
4 Lbs. (Stroller And Roller Parts Weight More)
IPrimio Dog And Cat Sling Carrier
Small Or Extra Small
PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack
Why Might You Need a Dog Carrier Backpack?
While a traditional dog carrier may work in most situations, having the option to carry your pet on your back may prove especially helpful if you will be transporting your pet on a long journey with multiple modes of transportation—plane, bus, walking, etc.
In many instances, the choice to carry a pet in a backpack may be due to the pet’s emotional or psychological state. Some pets might be comforted to be held close to their owners in a sling or front facing pack. Many people get dog backpacks (especially front facing packs) as a way to have togetherness with their pet around the house.
Also, some pets are disabled in some way and the pack gives them a chance to go along for the ride. Of course, it is important to be sure that the pack is comfortable in these instances—and that the carrier is not aggravating physical pain.
Some users are against bicycling or motorcycling with a pet for safety reasons. Also, a dog (and certainly a cat) may not like being sped along on a bicycle or motorcycle. So, it is important to assess your pet’s personality before forcing them into a backpack (even a comfortable one) and getting on a bicycle.
When the weather is at its coldest and wettest, dogs can struggle as much as humans do.
Devices such as a waterproof dog coat and chest protector can also help protect your pooch.
Mike - dog blogger
Types of Dog Carrier Backpack
A sling pack does not offer quite as much security as a framed, zipped carrier. However, it is usually a more comfy, natural fit for both pet and owner. Most slings have a collar or leash clip so that a dog cannot just jump out and run away, but still this is probably better for a pet who is cooperative and peaceful. Dogs who are nervous might especially like the sling because of the intimacy with owner.
For hiking, comfort for both pet and owner is critical. In general, it is almost impossible to hike with a large dog in a backpack. Small dogs are likely to be okay for long periods, as long as the backpack frame holds up and the walls of the carrier are breathable. For the owner, the key is to get exactly the right fit and to have plenty of padding. Many users note that it is worthwhile taking the time to get the adjustable straps in exactly the right place. Also, make sure both you and your dog are well-hydrated, and that your dog has the opportunity to come out of the carrier and relieve him/herself.
If car travel is part of your journey with your dog, aim for a dog carrier backpack that can double as a car seat carrier. Some that are not indicated as such may be able to be fastened by seatbelt, but generally it is safest to get one that is clearly suitable for car travel. Many carriers for small dogs can fit in an airplane as carry-on, but this is not a given—check the individual airline’s carry-on size guide. Also, realize that the airline does need to see that the pet can comfortably fit in the carrier, so forcing a pet into a smaller-than-appropriate carrier will not get the carrier through, and even if it did, you really do not want to put your pet in such an uncomfortable situation.
There are many kinds of traditional carriers: hard- or soft-sided; top opening, side opening. The majority are carried by a handle; a few may be like a shoulder bag. A few of the backpack carriers on this list can double as hand or shoulder bags. All backpack carriers are essentially soft-sided, even if they have a sturdy frame to keep the carrier from collapsing. However, large dogs (30 lbs or more) really have to be in traditional hard-sided carriers due to their weight.
Dog Carrier Backpacks - Buying Guide
It is especially important to adjust the straps to get a perfect fit on your body, because balancing the weight of a pet in a framed carrier is difficult. In fact, if the pet shifts its weight towards the front of the pack, it may be nearly impossible not to feel pressure in your back as the pack tilts slightly.
One user even suggests using towels on pressure points if the pressure is severe. Still it helps if the straps themselves and the back panel are well-padded.
General advice is to err on the side of too large rather than too small. Most dog carrier backpacks give a weight maximum. However, dimensions of carrier and dimensions of dog are more relevant in sizing. Quite often, a pet who is under the maximum will still not fit comfortably.
That said, one must also consider the dimensions and build of the human carrier. Small people simply cannot carry large dogs (especially for a long walk). Adjustable straps and padding help, but ultimately, carrying a larger pet is difficult—probably for both the human and the pet.
Sizing is tricky, because two animals of the same weight may not fit comfortably in the same space. Therefore, you cannot rely on weight. Furthermore, different pets have different space needs. (Hyperactive animals might struggle with a small space or very furry animals might not fit as well as their dimensions would suggest.)
It is also important to consider where you will take your dog in the backpack. If you want to ride a bicycle or motorcycle, you have to make sure the backpack (with dog inside) is stable and lightweight enough for you. (Of course, it is also ideal to be sure the pet is generally okay with being carried in this kind of situation.)
If you want to use a carrier backpack as carry-on, there are no hard and fast rules—look up the guidelines for the airline. Some users note that airlines are a bit inconsistent and may not accept a carry-on bag that they did on a previous flight. However, carriers for small or extra-small dogs tend to be acceptable.
All dog carrier backpacks can at least be wiped off. Either wiping, brushing, or even vacuuming out hair is a good first move. If there is an interior padding, it usually can be removed and cleaned (usually machine-washable). If you must clean any part of a dog carrier backpack, hand-washing in soap (not detergent) and cold water is the conservative choice.
Since your pet is either contained in the backpack or wearing it tight around his/her body, it is always important that the fabric and design be breathable, especially in hot environments. In fact, carrying your pet close to your body will generate mutual body heat—so breathability is even more important than you might think. Thankfully, all the carriers on this list are made of breathable material and get positive reviews in this area.
You might need the pet carrier backpack to have compartments for your belongings. Many have this feature, but some do not. All of the carriers on this list have a leash tether or collar clip (depending on what makes the most sense) so a pet cannot easily escape, and most have such features as locked zippers and abrasion-proof mesh so a pet cannot claw or chew their way out easily.
Also, a great safety feature to have when walking outside is reflective stripping. Some pet carriers come with portable water bowls that can be clipped to the carrier when not in use.
10 Best Dog Carrier Backpacks Reviewed
1. Petsfit Comfort Dog Carrier Backpack
Best Pet Carrier For Hiking
The Petsfit Comfort Dog Carrier is another great backpack from Petsfit. It measures 17.3’’x13’’x10.6’’ and can hold dogs 13 lbs. and under. It has breathable mesh windows and zippers open along both sides.
The top mesh window can roll back and snap in place so the pet can stick his head out. For the human, it has zippered pouches on both sides and adjustable, padded shoulder straps and an excellently padded back panel.
It also has chest and hip straps—especially important in a backpack carrier to balance the weight. It does have a small top loop for convenience but the loop would likely be too small to work as a handle. The interior does have a leash attachment, but one user noted that the tether felt flimsy.
Some users report that, even when a pet is within the weight limit, the dimensions are still too small for their pet—therefore, weight is not a good predictor of fit, in this case. This backpack would be excellent for smaller dogs such as a
2. K9 Sport Sack AIR
Best Pet Carrier For Biking
The K9 sport Sack AIR is highly versatile: The front or back carry option and the complete choice of sizes make this a very versatile backpack. It has an across-the-back strap (or if using as a backpack, a chest strap) that has a built-in whistle. Users note that the dog
There are sizable drawstring pockets on each side. At the top, where a dog’s head comes through, there is a D-ring to attach a collar; between the design and the D-ring, a pet really could not escape this backpack. All the while, the pet can be snuggled up to his owner and gets full view of what is going on.
Some pets may not like being forced into the position this pack demands. Furthermore, it almost goes without saying: this is not a suitable design for cats. However, the design does allow relatively heavy dogs to have a safe, secure ride.
3. Petsfit Comfort Dog Carrier/Backpack
Best Pet Carrier For Small Dogs
The Petsfit Comfort Dog Carrier Backpack measures 17’’x13’’x11’’ which makes it spacious for small dogs (up to about 15 lbs). On the interior, there is a leash tether. The fleece bottom cover is removable and cleanable, and the structural frame is sturdy—as long as pet is under the weight limit. That said, it can be collapsed for storage.
It has mesh windows on all sides (front, top, left, and right), which generates good airflow and allows pet and human to get a look at one another. The front and top windows can zipper open—either to give pet a more open view or to let/take pet out. This pack is also great for the human carrier: there are chest, hip, and shoulder straps, with ample padding along the back panel and shoulder straps. Also, in case you want to just carry it like a pet carrier, there is a usable top handle.
4. Natuvalle 6-in-1 Pet Carrier Backpack
Best Pet Carrier For Large Dogs
While the large size offers the most comfortable transport for large dogs (up to 25 lbs), the Natuvalle 6-in-1 also comes in medium, small, and extra-small sizes. As its name suggests, it can be used in 6 different ways: backpack, front carrier, shoulder bag, hand bag, car seat carrier, or in sideways position. (Sideways position is not ideal, however, but might be necessary under some circumstances.)
The two zippered mesh doors take up both sides—giving the pet a nice view to both sides when closed and an easy entry and exit when open. These zippers have security locks and there is an internal leash tether, so a pet could not easily jump out. In addition there is a small mesh window in the front. Buckles along the front allow the pack to be securely attached by a seatbelt.
Large size is too large to be carry-on, but the other sizes would potentially work in many airlines. (However, this is only the case if your pet truly is small enough to comfortably fit in the extra-small size.) All of its handles are removable, and the structure of the pack is such that, even with all the straps on, it will not collapse over a pet. With its reflective strips, comfortable interior, and photo ID tag, this is generally a great pet carrier backpack for travel. See the Amazon link below for sizing instructions.
5. COODIA Legs Out Front Pet Dog Carrier
Best Pet Carrier Front Backpack
This legs-out pet carrier offers a cute, and surprisingly comfortable, way to carry a small dog. For the human, the straps are wide and padded and there is a small front pouch to carry small items. It fits small people and children just fine.
There are two different ways to wear this backpack: one way is to simply buckle the horizontal strap so the two shoulder straps are pulled together; the other way is to remove the horizontal strap and put the shoulder straps across one another (though some users seem to find this difficult to do). For the dog, this carrier has breathable mesh sides and a gently elasticated collar. It has zippers on both sides to easily secure and remove your dog.
The COODIA Lets Out carrier comes in small, medium, large, and extra-large sizes. See Amazon link below to view a sizing guide. The absolute largest dog the XL size can carry is one with a body length just under 12’’ (probably no more than 16 lbs.), so this is truly for little dogs, only.
6. RUFFWEAR – Approach Full-Day Hiking Pack
Best Pet Carrier Backpack Harness
This dog backpack harness has five adjustment levels that, combined with the full range of size options, creates a perfect fit on almost any dog. General advice is to start a dog with a small load and work up (to no more than 25% of dog’s body weight).
The RUFFWEAR harness has two durable attachment points for a leash. One really helpful feature is the prominent handle right on the top/middle of the pack, which could be used to pick up the pack or to quickly restrain the dog in an emergency.
As is ideal in a human’s backpack, there are slip-resistant straps and loops to attach small items; also, the material is lightweight and the design is load-balancing. The sizing is based on the circumference of the widest part of the dog’s chest. The Amazon link below (see “Product Description”) includes a sizing guide and washing instructions. It can be hand-washed with detergent. Advice from users is, when in doubt, go with the larger size, because straps are adjustable.
7. Snoozer Wheel Around 4-in-1 Pet Travel Carrier
Best Rolling Pet Carrier Backpack
On the interior, the back and the bottom are padded, so the Snoozer Wheel Around can double as a dog bed if the front/top zippered mesh is rolled back. A wire bar is inserted across the mesh door to hold it in place, allowing you to use the carrier in this way. You can rest the backpack horizontally or vertically as a dog bed/pen, depending on preference. In all cases, the dog gets an all-around view of the environment through the clear mesh.
Also, there is a leash clip, so your dog cannot just run off even with the mesh rolled back. Ideal for the human, there is a zippered side pouch on each side and the option to roll the pack or carry it as a backpack. See link below for sizing guide.
The large size carries a pet up to 30 lbs. (Currently Amazon only has the large size, even though the product seems to come in small and medium, too.) For air travel, check official guidelines—the large size could be too big for some airlines. One user noted that the bottom of the carrier is removable and that this decreases the size so it can fit in a smaller space.
8. Ibiyaya Multifunction Pet carrier
Best Multi-Functionality Pet Carrier
As its name suggests, the Ibiyaya Multifunction Pet Carrier can be used in five different ways: as a backpack, roller carrier, car seat carrier, shoulder carrier, or pet stroller. If this all sounds complicated, thankfully, this carrier does come with instructions. One user notes that it is possible to configure the stroller so that the pet is facing his owner (even though this is not generally what is shown).
A wonderful bonus of this carrier is its excellent make—it passes the Environmental Stress-Cracking Resistance (ESCR) test and the EVA foam used is SGS-approved. (SGS is a Swiss company that provides testing and inspection services.) Another excellent feature is that the carrier is collapsible, and the stroller and roller additions fold up. The shoulder straps are padded and adjustable—critical for comfort, and the interior padding is removable and washable.
This carrier is generally for, at most, medium-small dogs (18 lbs. and under). There is a zippered mesh window that can be opened so that a pet can stick his head out during travel. Users’ videos seem to suggest that cats especially appreciate the stroller configuration—the ride is so smooth that cats do not even try to jump out.
9. iPrimio Dog and Cat Sling Carrier
Best Sling Style Pet Carrier
The iPrimio Dog and Cat Sling makes for a very stylish way to carry one’s small dog or cat (up to 12 lbs.) around town. Each color of sling has a maroon and white polka-dot interior, and they are all reversible. The fabric is soft and breathable. Even as the sling has a loose appearance, there is a clasp to keep a pet from just jumping out. An added bonus is that it is also machine-washable. Also, the iPrimio company offers a full refund or replacement for any products that are demonstrably flawed.
Users note that this carrier is probably easier to escape than others—users note this especially with kittens. One user had the helpful suggestion to put an absorbent pad in the sling, if one’s pet is prone to peeing in carriers. Therefore, you have to consider how cooperative your pet is and/or how safe the environment is. Pets may feel more peaceful, though, since the sling allows more intimacy with owner and it may seem more like a bed than a carrier.
10. PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack
Best Travelling Pet Carrier
This backpack has dimensions of 12.5’’x10.2’’x16.3’’ and is indicated for a maximum of 18lbs. Both sides of the backpack can open by zipper so that it is easy to put in or let out your dog; the top front also has a zippered mesh window so you and your pet can have contact. Even with so much accessibility, this carrier is still secure: there is an internal fastening leash and, externally, there are buckles to prevent your pet from coming through the zippered doors.
For the human carrier, this backpack has adjustable shoulder, chest, and hip straps—ideal for balancing weight on long walks. It also has sizable elasticated mesh pockets on both sides and a front zippered pocket. Also, a reflective strap across the front top definitely makes this a good carrier for outdoor use. Some users complain that part of the frame digs into their back, but one user solved this problem by putting a towel at the pressure point and another remarked that getting the adjustable straps right helps.
What Breeds of Dog Can Be Carried In a Backpack?
Common breeds to carry in backpacks are Chihuahua; Shih Tzu; miniature and teacup poodle; Patterdale, Yorkshire, and Boston terrier; Pomeranian; miniature schnauzer; pug; and Dachshund.
Of course, there are combinations, such as Chiweenies and Cockapoos, which will often fit well into backpacks for small dogs. Corgis, schnauzers, cocker spaniels, French bulldogs, and beagles are on the heavier end of dogs that can be carried in a backpack. That said, puppies may fit in carriers that they will not fit into later in life.
Even if a larger dog will fit comfortably into a given backpack, the human carrier might not be able to carry the dog for a long time—if the human is a child, small person, or someone who is disabled or in poor physical shape. Both human and animal have to be considered.
Even strong people may find that carrying a pet for a long time is awkward, because it is truly difficult to get a good weight distribution—especially if the pet is moving about in the carrier.
How to Measure Your Dog
For dogs 30 lbs. and under, the guidelines at the
Sizing for framed backpack carriers may be more complicated. Ideally, look at the reported dimensions of the backpack and be sure that the horizontal length is at least the collar-to-butt length of the dog (but preferably more) and that the dog can turn around inside the compartment (based on the other two dimensions reported).
Sizing for dog backpacks is simple: it is generally based on the dog’s maximum chest circumference.
For dogs over 30 lbs, one would usually use a traditional carrier. The American Kennel Club (AKC) has a great webpage about finding the correct carrier size, whether hard- or soft-sided carriers. Generally the length measurement guidelines are same as above, and it is still recommended to be sure the dog can turn around inside the carrier.
To get a height measurement, measure the dog from the bottom of the paws to the top of the shoulder. A carrier should stand a few inches taller than this measurement.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
What’s the difference between a ‘dog carrier backpack’ and a ‘dog backpack’?
A dog carrier backpack is a pet carrier with back straps so that it can be worn on a human with the pet compartment either to the front or the back. A dog backpack is a carrying compartment that is built into a dog’s harness, so that the dog is, in effect, carrying a little backpack.
Can you get backpack carriers for large dogs?
Yes, but it depends on how large you mean. Generally, most people would not even consider carrying a very large dog on their back (or even more so, their front). A dog over 50 lbs. generally would never be carried this way, and there are no backpack carriers made to accommodate a dog over 50 lbs.
Do dogs enjoy being carried?
It depends on the individual dog. In some instances, a dog might feel more comfortable snuggled up to his owner. However, carrying a dog in a backpack involves restraining the dog to a small space and/or putting him/her in an unusual position (especially if it is a legs out backpack). Generally, dogs are more cooperative than cats and will tolerate these things fairly well, but dogs who are healthy and love to run free probably will not be so comfortable in a backpack.
Are all dog carrier backpacks washable?
No. The entire carrier may not be washable, but the interior padding is often removable and machine-washable (or at least hand-washable). Generally, this is the most important part of the carrier to clean. Some users give the suggestion to add an absorbent pad to the carrier—probably good advice, especially for pets who are prone to peeing or if the journey is long. Still, it is ideal to consider your dog’s needs: if you can let them out to relieve themselves; a trained pet usually does not want to just pee in the carrier.
Where’s the best place to buy a dog carrier pack?
Amazon is a great site to find deals on dog carrier backpacks. Chewy.com also offers dog backpacks. Such retailers as Nordstrom and Walmart also offer these products at good prices. Again, the biggest problem is sizing. Weight is not enough—measure your pet and consider his/her personality (Is he/she very energetic or lethargic? Cooperative or anxious?). Considering these factors is the best way to avoid getting the wrong size or the wrong carrier.